Birth of The Free Bird

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RED SCARF - 1

In one of the shops at village market, a shop that sold herbs and potions as medications, an old man whose hair was grey and face was wizened, hunched over in his armchair behind a counter desk, separating one type of plant from another. His grey eyes studied the plants wearily. Dark circles under his round eyes emphasised the look of fatigue, drawn on his skinny face.

There were not many customers that morning. People seemed to have better immune systems as they got used to the weather. They got barely ill, except the old man, who owned the shop himself with hundred of different kind of herbs and potions, he failed to make use any of them, succumbing to his illness.

A tinkling sound of a bell, announcing a new visitor, caught the old man’s attention. His head unwillingly looked up to see a customer entered his store. Upon seeing the person with white eyes, the old man made a snorting sound loudly, which was noticed by the person who just came.

“You sound very unhappy to have a customer.” Remarked the person. “I’m not the first one coming here today, am I?”

“That’s because you won’t pay me good money for whatever you need from me.” He retorted. His voice was brittle. He did not expect to see Mosley in his store today when she just visited him a few days ago. “What do you need, Mosley?”

“My dear Sebastian,” She chuckled. “I am no stranger to you. You can't expect me to give you a big amount of money. As you notice, I’m as poor as you.”

The old man, Sebastian, moved his eyes back to the tray of the plants on his lap and continued what he was doing before Mosley came.

“Do you want the same potion like last time?” Sebastian inquired the woman without glancing at her, treating her less than a customer whom he would usually attend politely.

Instead of answering his question, Mosley walked towards the tall glass shelves at the corner of the store. Her white eyes peered at each bottle of potion that stood in line behind the glass.

When Sebastian received no response from the woman, his eyes went to look for her. As he found her standing in front of the shelves of his own personal potions collection, he shouted,

“It’s not there, Mosley.”

Mosley sighed and turned her head around to the old man, whose eyes burnt with fury.

“I came here not for the potion,” Came the answer from Mosley. “but I must say that you have such a useful collection here.” Her finger pointed at the shelves in front of her.

“That’s not for you, old witch.” He hissed at her.

Hearing that, Mosley let out a dry laugh. She then took a few slow steps towards Sebastian.

“Don’t be like that, Sebastian.” She said as one of her white eyes winked at him tearfully. Her action got Sebastian shiver in disgust. “You may need my assistance one day. So try to be in a good term with me.”

The old man narrowed down his eyes on her. He never liked Mosley for one bit reason. Normal people might have mistaken her as a vulnerable woman who lost her vision but only Sebastian knew that the woman was far from being blind. She could see as good as normal people could. Even much better. She got vision like eagle’s.

A cunning woman. That was what Sebastian thought of her.

“What do you need, Mosley?” He asked her again.

“I need the red scarf you have been keeping it safe for my sake.” Mosley finally uttered her true intension. She stared at him. Her expression turned serious. “As much as you hated me, you’ve been kind enough to do what I ask. I shall reward you with coins or something better.”

“You should’ve just told me that from the start.” His thin lips twitched on one side. He lifted the tray up and dropped it on the desk in front of him. His free hands now pushed both side of the armrest of the chair, helping his weak body to get up from his chair. Sebastian straightened his aching back, hissing lowly in pain as he stood up.

In spite of the pain, Sebastian managed to walk slowly and stiffly towards the door that led him to his private chamber. The pain became more and more unbearable to him. But he could deal with it later, he thought, as he wanted to get rid of the woman from his store first. He turned the knob of the door and entered the room to retrieve the woman’s possession.

As Sebastian disappear into the room, Mosley smiled maliciously. Her eyes darted to the glass shelves, continue smiling. She lifted her right hands up in the air. Her lips began to move as she murmured incoherent words like a spell. As she continued to murmur the words, her skinny long fingers started to turn into a skeleton form and get detached from her hand, moving in the air as they inched closer towards the shelves, passing through the thick glass of the shelves.

The bony fingers grabbed a few bottles of the potions and then disappeared, leaving no evidence on the glass shelves that stayed locked. Mosley smiled triumphantly as she heard a clink sound was heard from the bag she was carrying.

At the same time, the door of Sebastian’s room opened. The man came out with a red scarf on one hand and he closed the door behind him with his other hand. He then looked at Mosley who was still standing at the same place when he left. He saw a smile on her face as her eyes landed on the red scarf he held.

“You deserve such a reward for keeping the scarf safe.” Mosley praised him genuinely. “Tell me what do you want, my dear?”

“Don’t talk to me like that.” He complained. “Like I am some sort of child.”

Mosley laughed which receive a glare from the old man. “Have you always ignored the fact, Sebastian?”

“No, I haven’t.” Sebastian answered. His tone was firm and certain. His grey eyes looked at her tired, tired of dealing with her for so many years.

“Well, then-,”

“Here is your scarf, Mosley.” Sebastian interrupted her, not willing to hear more from her. He then spoke to her in a lower voice, pleading to her. “Let me be in peace from now on.”

Mosley right hand, which was back to a normal hand with skinny fingers, reached out to take the scarf from Sebastian. She folded it carefully as if it was a treasure, and put it inside her bag. Mosley then gazed at the old man in front of her, smiling weakly at his request.

“I’m sure you don’t truly mean those words. However, I shall grant your wish as a reward for being kind to me for more than half a century.” She bowed her head to him as if to show her gratitude for his service to her.

If Sebastian did not know Mosley so well, he would believe on her kind gesture that she was doing to him right now. But he did not want to be fooled by her. He did not want to trust so quickly and easily like he did in the past. So, he did not say anything to her.

“Wouldn’t you want to say something to me for the last time?” Asked Mosley curiously as she continued to play her game.

Sebastian sighed loudly. He knew she was toying with him. As a return, he sneered at her, “May you and your second child find the light in the forest.”

“That’s very kind of you, Sebastian.” She bowed her head again to him. “Enjoy your peace.”

Mosley decided that it was enough for her to torture the poor old man in front of her. She turned on heel and left the store for good after she collected things that she needed.

On her way home, Mosley caught sight of Finch’s precious friends, creating a commotion in the middle of the street. Kids! She smirked, watching them amusedly.

“Go home now! Don’t follow us!” The boy named Thomas commanded the younger seriously, who was now sitting on the ground, after he pulled and twisted his arm. The hood of his raincoat was pulled back down, causing his reddish brown hair soaked.

What a poor boy. She commented in her mind, looking at the little boy. Mosley knew that this boy on the ground was the sibling of the other boy who tried to fool her the other day. But this younger boy seemed to be different than the other fools.

As she decided to have another fun, she went to approach the boy on the ground.

“Are you okay, boy?” She asked him.

When the boy turned around, the look of shocked and frightened were flashed through his chocolate brown eyes, as if he was seeing a ghost. Unlike his brother, Neil, who kept staring at Mosley disrespectfully, he asked her bravely, “Who are you?”

Mosley lower herself as she was crouched down before the boy. Her white eyes met his, which made him leaned away from her, making her chuckle.

“I’m Mosley.” She spoke. “Are you hurt?”

“A little.” Came his short answered.

Mosley’s hands lifted up to reach the hood that hung on the back of his neck. She pulled the hood on to the front, covering his head from the pouring rain.

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